Institutional Distinctiveness

Cultivating the Field and Mind: The search for New Pastures

Government College, Attingal, an institution, which stands apart from other offices in the municipal area of Attingal, with its distinctive features of a cultivating land, a pond for water re-cycling mechanism, sacred groves and bamboo groves which adds to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the area. Though the college is located in a crowded municipal area, the serene atmosphere inside provides a warm and healthy air for the people. The thrust given by the college to agriculture and to turn a barren 2 acres of land to a fertile, productive area is a matter to be proud of. The collegewas established in the year,1975. It has 13.966 acres of land which includes 2 acres of paddy field and a kavu, a sacred grove. The college has a strength of 727 students. Most of the students are coming from a family background of low income whose only source of income is agriculture.

Keeping this in mind, the College promotes agriculture as a mechanism of sustainable living and evolves an agricultural culture too. The club activities in the college, mostly give to agricultural related activities. Students are made aware of the acclaimed programme in Aakashavani namelyVayalum Veedum, and also encouraged them to generate and create such programmes to spread the importance of agriculture. The barren non arable bushy area of land was utilised for the cultivation of paddy and growing vegetables with a view to impart the importance of agriculture among students. The initiatives are taken with the assistance of NSS Units, PTA, College Alumni, Department of Agriculture and Municipality of Attingal.

Kerala Government has taken up many such projects in schools and colleges with such an intention. The project of paddy cultivation helps to spark their interest in cultivation and also help them to learn the principles of agriculture. Further this is a practical and easy way to increase biodiversity which has an important role in maintaining ecological balance of nature. The turning back towards nature is a relevant and a crucial step forward for the sustenance of man’s development. The project is of great service to the society at large, and serves as a model which could be emulated by people concerned about man and the planet earth. It is a sad fact that today’s generation is a little bit hesitant to involve in agricultural and allied activities. The generation’s over involvement in technology and technical career is a growing concern. The college has decided to make a change to this situation and to channelize them to agricultural activities to enhance physical and mental fitness. As part of this the college decided to start paddy and vegetable cultivation in the nearby barren land. The initiative was taken with the full support of the students. The ALUMNI and the parents of the students gave immense help for the vegetable and paddy cultivation. The one and half acres of barren land, with a continuous toil of many months turned out to be fertile one. It is pleasure and a proud to state that students in their free time joined wholeheartedly for the fieldwork. The college started paddy cultivation in the newly prepared land. Though there was a concern over the success of the programme, the college decided to step forward. The NSS Units in the college took up the venture. The Municipality of Attingal and the Department of Agriculture extended help. The details of the programme was sent to the media. The different sectors of the society provided help for the venture.

The MLA of Attingal, Adv.B. Sathyan, Municipal Chairman, Adv. Pradeep and other dignitaries participated in the inaugural function of the paddy cultivation programme. A seminar was organized on the topic students and Agricultural culture. All students of the College participated in the programme. It was titled Karshikolsavam (Agricultural Festival). The students along with trained farmers did the sowing of seeds. The farmers taught them the techniques of sowing and cultivation. In fact it was one of the inspiring moments to capture. The students listened to the pieces of advice and guidance shared by the farmers and imbibed it to implement it. The programme turned out to be a huge success, as the fields yield a good harvest with paddy and vegetables. It was indeed a harvest festival for the college and thus named ‘kalalaya Kathirolsavam’. The crops were sold in outside market under the brand name of ‘Government College Attingal Organic Rice’. This got a wide reach in the local market. The vegetables were sold to the teachers and students which also add to the income of the college.

Moreover, the happiest moment related was that the college was also able to donate rice to the poor people inhabited near the college. The Kalalaya Kathirolsavam was implemented as joint effort of Jeevani, an initiative of Agricultural Department to encourage organic farming. The NSS unit, students, teachers other staff members and former students of the college joined the harvest festival. The farming was started in November and expenses were met by the college and later department of Agriculture provided subsidies for the said expenses. Another acclaimed thing related to the farming was that students dug up a pond near the field to source water for agriculture. This helps not only as a means of irrigation but also helps to maintain the water recycling mechanism in the college. The water body is recharged with the water flowing from the drainage and the nearby groves and trees helped to retain water even during heavy summer. Thus, the programme of the cultivation of paddy enriched the land, environment, improved the mental and physical wellbeing of the people involved, helped to provide food for the poor and the needy, able to give organic food for the people. The richness of biodiversity associated with the field, grove and pond filled the mind and body with a new freshness, a freshness to look the world positively.